The National Pig Development Centre, funded by the British Pig Executive (BPEX), will create the largest facility for pig research, development and knowledge transfer in the country, bringing together the UK’s top researchers in the field from the universities of Leeds and Newcastle and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) in Thirsk.
Key to the project is the link, through BPEX, with pig producers to ensure that research findings can be quickly translated into good practice on the farm and that problems on the farm can quickly be addressed through research and development.
Areas already identified by the centre for research include analysing the benefits of new sire lines, assessing how to manage variations in meat quality without affecting customer demand, ways to reduce the seasonal effects on production for the 25 percent of pigs produced outdoors in the UK and looking at the best ways to refurbish buildings to improve pig health and performance.
Co-directors of the new Pig Development Centre will be Dr Helen Miller (University of Leeds), professor Sandra Edwards (Newcastle University) and professor Stan Done (VLA).
The University of Leeds’ Faculty of Biological Sciences is one of the largest in the UK, with nearly 150 academic staff and over 400 postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students.